A stunning story of acceptance, life with a disability and repairing broken family relationships!
The Coward by Jarred McGinnis
Published 1st July by Canongate
After a car accident Jarred discovers he’ll never walk again. Confined to a ‘giant roller-skate’, he finds himself with neither money nor job. Worse still, he’s forced to live back home with the father he hasn’t spoken to in ten years.
Add in a shoplifting habit, an addiction to painkillers and the fact that total strangers now treat him like he’s an idiot, it’s a recipe for self-destruction. How can he stop himself careering out of control?
As he tries to piece his life together again, he looks back over his past – the tragedy that blasted his family apart, why he ran away, the damage he’s caused himself and others – and starts to wonder whether, maybe, things don’t always have to stay broken after all.
This is a stunning book that highlights the impact of suddenly being unable to walk and how to accept everything that comes with this.
Everything about this book is gritty, completely stripped bare and so authentic. Jarred is a troubled character, long before his horrific accident, so when he faces life in a wheelchair his life spirals even more. It was all done so well and really gets you into the head of Jarred and just what life is like for him.
Throughout the book we learn more about Jarred and his life before the accident. Exploring what he had experienced was at times sad to read about but really helped to show just how misunderstood and lost he was. He was a character with such depth who will make you laugh at times with some of his comments but I couldn’t help but care for him, even if he did make some careless decisions at times.
Whilst this book does highlight the struggles of coming to terms with a disability it also shows the relationship between a father and son, and how they slowly both face their demons to regain the relationship that was lost.
I will say it ends very abruptly but I’m really glad it did as I think it fit perfectly for the style of the book and leaves it open to interpretation.
Overall this was such an impressive story about life with a disability, the acceptance that comes with it and the unconditional love of family. Absolutely beautifully written with characters you will care about.